Sunday, 2 February 2014

Come on, come on, let's work together

Today's sunshine convinced me it was warm enough to wear a denim jacket to take the kids swimming and go for a coffee in our local Turkish cafe. 
 And with the addition of a woolly beret, scarf and gloves, it was! 

Jess agrees.

Charlie, on the other hand, was happy to lounge on the sofa. 
Tickle that tummy at your own risk.

I don't like to grumble...
(That's patently untrue, I like a moan and a rant as much as the next grumpy git.)
Our little PTA group put on a fundraising cake sale last week, which obviously relied on donations. I made 2 big cakes and 2 batches of cookies, and helped set up and serve. The school hall was packed, and the four of us who were (wo)manning the stall were very, very busy. Yet still, some parents complained that they had had to wait a long time to be served (the queue was huge) and there wasn't much choice when they finally got to the front.

What can you do? I wanted to ask them if they had donated anything, and if they would be available to help out next time; I didn't, for fear of sounding irritated and confrontational...  I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the parents who say they can't help because I've got the kids with me. As though those of us who do help don't have any children. Or who say But I work; I am the only non-working member of our group, everyone else has a job.
What makes some people into volunteers, either of their time, produce, or goodwill, and others into takers-not-givers? It is a source of endless bewilderment to me that a really large primary school like ours (500+ kids) has such a small proportion of parents willing to take an active role.

Have we moved so far away from a sense of the collective, of shared endeavour and responsibility, that we view ourselves, our families, as self-supporting islands, with no need to contribute to something which benefits others? That makes me sad. I'm an old school socialist, can't help it, I believe in groups, in society, in fairness and sharing and helping. 
I am, apparently, a dinosaur.

Right; that's got that off my chest. 

My double-dating partner Connie asks in her latest post what our favourite things are at the moment; one of mine are the snakeshead fritillaries in my garden. And my lone little grape hyacinth, bravely popping its head above ground. And the daffodils pushing up through the ivy.
 Sunshine in winter is always good too, though it plays havoc with one's blog pics. 

Best to just lean back for a minute and enjoy it.

Denim jacket, suede waistcoat, bangles, beret and scarf - charity shopped
1970s peasant blouse - Ebay
1960-70s Debroyal maxi skirt - vintage fair
1980s boots - Second to None
Leather gloves - gift
We've had a busy weekend; a house full of giddy 8 year old girls for a sleepover on Friday, and a wonderful meal out last night at our favourite Chinese restaurant to celebrate the Year of the Horse, and positive reports for Eldest at her parents evening, and SSK winning the class shield for his recent Learning Logs! It looks as though the time spent being more supportive over his homework is paying off; he is so much more motivated and proud of his work. And well done to his teacher for understanding that he needed some recognition for his efforts.

Hope everyone has had a good weekend!



sonia said...

Unfortunately, many grown-ups still act like children (as a teacher, I can attest to this!). Hurrah for your volunteering spirit! I can't even imagine grumbling about poor leftovers... it's free food, isn't it?
Oh, and love the cats, the garden, and the outfit!

Sue said...

You are no dinosaur!! I was a non working mother that went on PTAs and committees to do with my kids school and sports. Yes there was only a few of us good sorts that did our bit to help but this has always been the way. There are two types of people, givers and takers. You like me are a giver. Pat yourself on your back and be proud of your efforts. Your cats are adorable, just like you. Our cat is a pat the tummy at your own risk type to. I love your berets, you so suit them.

Vix said...

Well, you're the best looking dinosaur I've ever seen basking in the sunshine in all your psychedelic glory and a brave one, too out in just a denim jacket.
It must piss you off good and proper, inconsiderate idiots. You're ace, they're not and i'm sure karma will come back and bite them one day.
Glad you had a top night out. Well done to Eldest and to SSK and to youngest, too for just being her.
The cats are gorgeous, ours are being evil at the moment, they won't leave us alone for a minute, nagging us for biscuits and giving us daggers when we dare leave the house...little buggers.
Love you! xxx

Asparagus Pea said...

Hooray for old fashioned socialists I say - right on sister!

Diane said...

Whatever institution I have volunteered to help out at - toddler group,nursey, schools, W.I etc etc, it's always the same faces that volunteer - AND always the same faces that complain and moan. Love your gorgeous blue pattern skirt. xxxx

Helga said...

You are just MY kind of dinosaur, baby! Gawd, there's some whinging bloody feckwits out there. They can go and get thoroughly fecked with the rough end of a pineapple. You are frigging awesome, don't let it get you down.
Ha, I wouldn't be able to resist the carnage of tickling that tummy! Peepers loves to display hers, but luckily is quite friendly about the tickling bit!
You are magnificent in your denim jacket-I thought of you when I pulled my one out to wear this morning! Love it with that skirt, and I'm very pleased it's warm enough for you to wear it!

Melancholy and Menace said...

Aww, you're not a dinosaur, and I love your little rant! Try not to let people get to you.

My cat loves to lay on her back with her legs in the air (nothing to do with pets being like their owners) and I wouldn't dare tickle her tummy. I like my hands too much.

Your clothes look gorgeous, as do you. I do love those leather gloves.

It was nice to see a little bit of sunshine today xx

Unknown said...

For over 10yrs I worked in a school and I too noticed the problem to get involved. Yet very quick to gossip. It's proven that if everyone pulls together a happier world it would be, I guess as my grandparents would say
" they don't make em like that anymore"

By the way your colourful skirt adds sunshine to the day xxx

Gill said...

I used to volunteer at all sorts of fund raising events at my childrens' school, it was always the same half dozen who turned up...I then went on to work at a school and it's just the same, a small group of parents who are giving of their time but most can't/won't get involved. It was so rewarding to be part of the school community so don't give up!

Virginia at A Sewing Life said...

You look lovely! I also enjoyed your outfits in your last post, but I don't think I got myself organized to comment. Gracious, I can't think what I'd say to those rude parents. But I am so very glad to hear that your son is feeling happy about his accomplishments--it must make you feel wonderful!

Miss Magpie said...

My sister in law used to say the same when Nephew Number One was at school, she always baked and used to get people coming up to her checking that she was going to as her cakes were 'so nice' and yet those same Mums were always 'too busy' to contribute themselves!

Wasn't this bit of sun delicious? If only it would last.

Angels have Red Hair said...

I used to help out with reading groups when the boys were in Primary School ... and it was ALWAYS the same parents helping every single time. I always found the reward was in how excited your kids were to have you there. Of course that all changes when they hit high school ... then you are banned from coming within 50 metres of the front gate.
You're looking gorgeous ... as always. Our winters are clearly VERY, VERY different ... I can wear a denim jacket all winter long.

Sheila said...

I'm always very conscious of thanking volunteers at any and all places! That's so much work and commitment, and it's a thankless job. I do what I can, but it's not much.

You look gorgeous, and so do your kitties. I would be trying to bury my nose in kitty's tum! All of our cats have always been good with tummy-rubs, thankfully.

Trees said...

I am sorry to hear about the school related dramas! Whilst I have no kids of my own, many years ago I organised a book club but I eventually gave it up due to similar issues - namely people complaining about things, but not offering to help out. I mean I don't understand the logic! Currently I only volunteer two times a year - fabric-a-brac (as it is a fundraiser for the hospice) and I admire those who volunteer much more. The weather there looks so lovely - I think sunny, clear winter days are my favourite! Also you ROCK that maxi skirt (obviously!)

Kylie said...

You are not a dinosaur Curtise. You are lovely.

Connie said...

Isn't it wonderful when all the Spring blossoms start to appear? And there you are. Blossoming right along with them. I used to volunteer A LOT at my kids' schools. I remember that a lot of people would show up for the initial meeting but then slowly show up less and less until it was just a few of us left to do the lion's share. It only annoyed me a little bit since those of us that stuck around were a strong and hearty bunch who enjoyed complaining about the layabouts. Your children are STARS because You are a STAR. Shine on!

Patti said...

My dearest, gorgeous dino - how I wish more people shared your ideas about sharing and giving. My sister has two kids, a job, and volunteers *constantly* at her kids' schools. She doesn't have extra time, she just does it because it's a good thing, the way you do it.

You look fabulous in denim topper and beret. How wonderful to be a cat at your house, or my house - that's the life! xoxo

Olga Rani said...

It is interesting what excuses people find for themselves not to participate in some social work or for others to do all the work. Like you said "I have kids on my hands" or "you don't have a job". When we lived in Russia and my kids went to primary school much of social work there was put on my shoulders because..."you are the youngest of all the parents". Not that I minded but the explanation seemed a bit strange to me.
You look fabulous under that winter sun! Beautiful skirt, the colour and the print are amazing.

Unknown said...

Oh such a good mother you are ! I only wish that all of the " others" could realize what a hero you are and be there to!
How i long for spring time and deninm jackets.. Amazing photos of your spring favorites...

The Dainty Dolls House said...

You are no dinosaur at all...Mums at these things always act that way. The ones at my daughter's school does really. I just ignore them!! You look amazing, love that outfit!! xx

Peaches McGinty said...

Nope, you are not a dinosaur, you are wonderful - we do cake making for cake sales, proper cakes too! but I don't volunteer, I helped with Mums and Tots but after working in a school for 5 years and for many reasons I don't think I could again - hasn't Jess got a magnificent tail though! and you are divine in your gorgeous outfit, I love it!and excellent news on the school reports too! x x x

bonsaimum said...

You look a million dollars as always. I find no matter what you do, volunteering etc, there is always someone who complains. I want to kidnap your cats!!

lyannainsomnia said...

Lovely outfit

Kelly Jackson said...

Aw, too bad the school administrators can't diplomatically suggest that the complainers help out. I thought volunteering at schools was pretty much expected these days. In Canada, it is, and besides, wouldn't most parents simply want to get involved in their kids' school?

Love the denim - and wow, spring buds? Love! I am forgetting that when I arrived in the UK in Feb 2012, I was amazed at the spring-like look of it. In Canada it was and still is bitterly cold and snowy - don't miss that! Xo

Suzanne said...

We're twinsies with our maxis and jean jackets : )

I'm loving that grey vest you have on too.

So jealous of your weather. We are buried, buried under snow this year. How I wish I could see some signs of spring.


Forest City Fashionista said...

Arrghhh! So jealous that you are able to frolic about in your backyard in the sunshine and a denim jacket!! We are slowly, but surely being buried and frozen to death over here. And flowers, no less??!!

I think the idea of community is disappearing in so many ares of our lives, school included. People just don't seem to have the time, or want to make the effort, to share, donate, or consider the needs of others outside themselves. Perhaps I'm taking an unnecessarily bleak view of society, but it's based on what I've seen lately, and sometimes I feel like I've turned into my mother ;)

Kitty belly! I would want to get in a tickle. I'm always poking at Fred's fuzzy belly.

Krista said...

Dinosaurs prunes it's all the same isn't it;). I love and know the leaning back into sunshine shot and although they don't make for the best pictures it sure feels good!

I totally think people are selfish little pricks and I'm stealing what Helga said about getting fecked with the wrong side of a pineapple, that's a gem! I think current American society is all about the individual, self worship in a way, I'm a tad guilty of it at times, but I do think we can change our own circles. I have a tight group of friends and we help each other out , it's my own community and I love it!

bohemian vanity said...

Pretty dinosaur i must admit :)
Don't let others bring you down!
People are selfish and mean and you shouldn't even think about those stupid parents anymore!
Btw you look lovely as always and i'm jealous you can wear a denim jacket without freezing yet.
xxxx Tani

Señora Allnut said...

dear lovely dinosaur, you're brilliant (and gorgeous, obviously!) and all those selfish parents are losing something really good and very rewarding!
Love that you're enjoying some sunshine and wearing your denim jacket and maxi skirt, fabulous outfit!

Veshoevius said...

Gosh you are good, if I'd have been in your situation I'd have certainly given them a piece of my mind then and there! If you're a dinosaur we need more of you fast. You look fab! Wonderful blouse and maxi and your garden is looking lovely too!

Fiona said...

Hooray for dinosaurs! (although you are not one at all in my humble opinion) My mum did loads of voluntary work in her time and her last job was in the hospital shop for the WRVS. People were always whingeing at her about the queue so she informed them all the staff were volunteers and perhaps they'd like to give their time??? Funny, but after that you didn't see their arse for dust!
Gorgeous groovetastic skirt and so glad to hear the LB's are all doing so well. xxxxxx

Tamera's Craft Palace said...

Well you are a fabulous looking dinosaur in that outfit!!

We have the same situation at our very large church. A handful of people do everything when it comes to volunteering.

Jean at said...

And three cheers for excellent parenting!! I love to hear the good reports. I don't doubt that your involvement, and willingness to give, play a huge part in the children's progress. It's your attitude that makes the difference, your decision to care, about them and other people around you.

You look fab and the purple hat sings beside your red (at least on my computer!) hair.

The greenery looks lovely as a backdrop and the early spring flowers are such a joy. So are you. XXOO

silvergirl said...

I had to laugh at the line
it was warm enough to wear a denim jacket and take the kids swimming.
I am hoping this was an indoor pool

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Hooray for old-school socialism indeed! What was stopping people nipping behind the counter, dropping their gear on the floor and ordering/bribing their kids to keep it together for 20 minutes? I think a lot of the kids would have been proud to see their parents playing tea-parties! ;) Your beautiful skirt and beanie match your budding spring hyacinths! I've said it once, I'll say it again, I LOVE your garden. I love watching it evolve as the seasons come and go. It truly is a special place to be. We move on Monday and it's a nightmare, but one thing that keeps me going is the dream of growing a wee few flowers and herbs. xoxoxoxoxoox

Mrs Bertimus said...

Oh! That skirt!
I do think it's the doers of this world that actually have a better time in Life anyways!
You rock!

Kezzie said...

Oh your cats are gorgeous!!!!
Especially that tabby- Hello Jess!
We had a cat like that with the tummy- he would absolutely bite your arm off if you DARED to touch it. But my sister in law has a cat that lets you stroke her all over her tummy- she lies back in ecstasy!

We have the same problem with our PTA- same few parents AND most of their children are leaving this year- not sure what we will do then. It does seem to be a bit of a cultural thing here with some of ours perhaps? At our summer and Christmas fayres, we are expected to help out on stalls-so there are enough people. Good thing too! But you wish you could say to those parents that NEVER help, why can't you give time to help?
LOVE the outfit- gorgeous touches of purple, all springing from the fabulous hat!x

Melanie said...

Maybe at the next event you could wear a badge that says Unpaid Labour as a reminder. All of the charity organizations who solicit funds on our street corners use paid employees. The meaning of charity and volunteerism has changed I think. If you are a dinosaur, you are a Gorgeousaurus.
Plus, your garden is brilliant. And well done to Eldest and Seldom Seen.

Fran said...

I love your kitty photos and once again your garden is lovely and already a sprout or two. Blue is beautiful and I love denim jackets.

Aya said...

I hear some cats roll over and show their tummies when they actually want to be pet on the head, not rubbed on the belly. My friend's cat does this. :D

Ugh, freeloader whiners. I have a theory that once populations got above a certain density/number in human history, that it allowed a certain amount of freeloading to exist in society because there are enough people to pick up the slack and there's enough anonymity that it can slide.

(Though please note I am not against things like social welfare, programs for people in poverty, and the like. I don't think it's poor sapping off rich, more like some people in a community like a church or school not doing as much as others.)

freckleface said...

People ARE annoying, they whinge and moan and give nothing, but always know their 'rights'. Workers and shirkers. I know which ones i prefer. Sometimes it's hard not to get jaded.
Your garden is a thing of beauty. It is so well planted, you always have interest. I love the way you blend in with your flowery skirt, just basking. Makes a change from baking anyway!
Kitty cats tummies! Is there anything more tempting in this world? Xxxxx

Vicky Hayes said...

I always like to see you in a bright maxi Curtise and heaven only knows where you got that sunshine! I spent the children's primary school years helping out at everything and so I know exactly what you're saying - it's always the same people who help and it's a very small group - all efforts to change that failed miserably! Glad SSK is happier in his work. Vicky x

Shawna McComber said...

Some people are so thoughtless and there is not much you can do about it. I always think of the best sort of response later after the event, such as smiling brightly at the grumbling parents and saying would you like some cheese with that whine? You are in the wrong line up for cheese.